On Tuesday, WhatsApp reassured customers of the Facebook-owned messaging service about privacy as people flocked to rivals Telegram and Signal after a tweak to its words.
Facebook executive Adam Mosseri, who heads Instagram, said in a tweet that there was “a lot of misinformation” concerning an amendment to the terms of service about an option to use WhatsApp to contact corporations.
The updated WhatsApp terms ignited criticism as the chat app would be cut off from users outside Europe who do not approve the new terms before 8 February.
“The policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way,”The policy update does not in any way affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family.
The upgrade involves how, according to the social network, retailers using WhatsApp to communicate with consumers will exchange details with Facebook, which could use the details for advertising advertisements.
As WhatsApp said in a blog post, “We can’t see your private messages or hear your calls, and neither can Facebook,”
“We don’t keep logs of who everyone is messaging or calling. We can’t see your shared location and neither can Facebook.”
Location data along with message contents were encrypted end-to-end, according to WhatsApp.
“We’re giving businesses the option to use secure hosting services from Facebook to manage WhatsApp chats with their customers, answer questions, and send helpful information like purchase receipts,” said WhatsApp in the post.
“Whether you communicate with a business by phone, email, or WhatsApp, it can see what you’re saying and may use that information for its own marketing purposes, which may include advertising on Facebook.”
– Tapping Telegram –
Telegram’s encrypted messaging software has seen customer ranks rise on the heels of the announcement of WhatsApp support terms, said its Russian-born founder, Pavel Durov.
Durov, 36, said Tuesday on his Telegram channel that in the first weeks of January, the app had over 500 million monthly active users and “25 million new users joined Telegram in the last 72 hours alone.”
WhatsApp is home to over two billion people.
“People no longer want to exchange their privacy for free services,” Durov said without pointing specifically to the competing app.
Signal’s secure chat software has also seen a massive rise in demand, backed by a tweeted proposal by legendary serial entrepreneur Elon Musk.
The two apps gained about 4 million subscribers last week in India, WhatsApp’s biggest market with some 400 million users, financial daily Mint said, citing data from research firm Sensor Tower.
In the South Asian nation, WhatsApp tried to reassure concerned consumers, running full-page ads in newspapers on Wednesday, declaring that “respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA”
In a number of countries, particularly in the former Soviet Union and Iran, Telegram is a popular social media network and is used for both private communications and data and news sharing.
For those needing a private and safe contact channel, Durov said that Telegram has become a “refuge” and told new users that his team “takes this responsibility very seriously.”
In 2013, Telegram was founded by brothers Pavel and Nikolai Durov, who also founded Russia’s VKontakte social media network.
Telegram declines to comply with the authorities and with the handover of encryption keys, which in many countries, including Russia, culminated in its ban.
Last year, following more than two years of futile efforts to block it, Russia announced that it would lift its messenger app ban.